Project Development, Communications & Controls and Intermediate Shafts

The development of Crossrail offers a new and visionary railway proposal for London and the South-East. It will deliver a world-class, affordable railway, with a high frequency, convenient and accessible train service across the capital. Trains will run from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through 42km of new tunnels under London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. The project is currently building 10 new stations and renovating 30 more, while integrating new and existing infrastructure. The team at Firstco acted as specialist consultants for the communications and controls systems that would be used in the stations and tunnels of the proposed cross-London rail link. We provided detailed documents and expert assistance to support Crossrail in the planning this project.


This included:

  • Completion of Functional Design Specifications (FDS).
  • Providing specialist input to the project leaders for communications and controls systems and systems engineering
  • Ensuring the systems requirements of the stakeholders (user, operator and maintainer) were fully understood
  • Helping to clarify the briefs to enable the sub-project teams to move forward with their definition and detailed designs
  • Producing GRIP 3/4 designs for the  communications and control systems for the central area sub-surface stations
  • Assisting with interfaces using specialist client and supplier system teams and existing rail stakeholders (London Underground and Network Rail).

Communications & Controls

Firstco also provided Design and Technical Interface Managers as well as subject matter experts and successfully delivered the design of the communications and controls systems for the sub-surface stations on this prestigious project. This followed Firstco’s initial appointment to develop the designs to GRIP 3.

Firstco managed the interfaces with the numerous stakeholders (including London Underground, Network Rail, emergency services, architectural  and mechanical & electrical design engineers) to produce a set of fully co-ordinated designs.

The systems to be designed included:

  • PLC/SCADA networks (control and monitoring system)
  • Security networks (CCTV, intruder detection)
  • Public address / voice alarm
  • Private mobile radio communications (Airwave TETRA, Connect TETRA, LFEPA CH5)

For Crossrail, the Gates Process – 3 milestone design progress presentations was a critical project assurance tool. Through early engagement with the Gate Review Panel, Firstco were able to understand the procedure documentation in line with the panel’s actual vision and therefore guide designers to present their work to best advantage. This delivered not merely a pass at the first attempt for Gate 1 but the accolade of having established ‘the standard’.We fulfilled the three engineering process roles of: Assurance Manager, Interface Manager and Requirements Manager on Crossrail Projects.

The specific elements of the project that individuals within those roles assisted with included:

  • 5 shafts: all intervention, 3 forced ventilation & 2 evacuation
  • 80 interface controls
  • 840 requirements

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